A study conducted by the University of Michigan surveyed about 20,000 individuals in the US aged 55 years and older. It asked questions about life satisfaction. ‘One of the first questions we asked was . . . whether money makes people happier in retirement,’ reports researcher Michael Finke. ‘The answer was yes—in fact, quite a bit happier.’
A good answer to that question can come from two things: analysing who you are now—because you will take who you are into retirement; and what you want from your retirement.
Any change causes stress. Retiring is no different. Full retirement usually means the end of your working life, which is a huge transition. You can add to this the uncertainty of not being sure whether you’ll survive financially (a common fear). And there’s the sense that you’re now entering the last stage of life. Both these thoughts add pressure.
In planning your retirement, which path are you going to follow? In her latest book, Too Young to be Old, Nancy K Schlossberg says that through her research, ‘I have identified six major paths retirees follow.’
Entrepreneurship isn’t new. We hear and read about it a lot. And it isn’t just a younger demographic. Older entrepreneurs are hitting the headlines, too.
What comes to mind when you think of your retirement? Excitement? Uncertainty? Dread? All three? The best retirements are planned.
The two extremes with retirement planning are: to go into retirement with no plan; or to over-plan. No plan means you’re beginning a substantial part of your life (perhaps 20 to 30 more years) with no direction. Over-planning leaves no space for spontaneity—which is one of the major delights of retirement. The key is to focus on what’s important with your planning.
What are your dreams for retirement? A more important question is: What is your life dream? That’s about what you want to do but linked to how you want to live. In other words, who do you want to be in retirement?
Know yourself’ (‘know thyself’, if you prefer) is an ancient Greek saying that rings true for those approaching retirement. Knowing yourself is important as you plan your retirement because it’s your retirement.